Only in the BCS could a team move up in the standings during a week in which it doesn’t even play.
That’s likely what will happen to No. 11 Ohio State this weekend because of two top-10 BCS matchups Saturday — when No. 10 LSU hosts No. 6 Alabama and No. 3 TCU travels to No. 5 Utah.
The Buckeyes, on their bye week, should jump ahead of the losers of each game in the BCS ranks, said CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm in an interview with The Lantern.
“They should be no lower than 10th” on Sunday, he said.
A sixth straight Big Ten championship and second straight Rose Bowl appearance likely will not happen unless No. 9 Wisconsin falls or catapults all the way to the BCS Championship game. Both scenarios are unlikely to occur, Palm said.
“In order for them to win the Big Ten, they need somebody to beat Wisconsin,” he said. “I don’t think they’re going to win a tiebreaker with Wisconsin because Wisconsin is ahead of them in the polls. Ohio State played a better non-conference schedule, while Wisconsin played a better conference schedule.”
Wisconsin (7-1, 3-1) has the edge for the Big Ten title and Rose Bowl berth with wins against OSU and Iowa on its resume. The Badgers’ remaining schedule includes Saturday’s game at Purdue, a home game against Indiana, away game against Michigan and home game against Northwestern.
“I want the reality of, OK, right now we’re in the midst of the Big Ten season — here’s who we’re competing against, here’s the guys you’re lining up against, here’s where they’re ranked, and I want reality and awareness,” coach Jim Tressel said. “I think our guys do a pretty good job of honest reflection of where we are and where we aren’t.”
Palm projects OSU will lose to Iowa and earn a trip to the Capital One Bowl, which traditionally takes the top non-BCS teams from the SEC and Big Ten.
There is a dichotomy between the human polls and the BCS. The AP Top 25 Poll has OSU ranked No. 8, ahead of Nebraska, Oklahoma and LSU — all teams that are above OSU in the BCS.
“They’re behind (in the BCS) because the computers don’t like them,” Palm said. “They’re ahead of … all those teams in the (human) polls. But they’re 16th in the computers.”
Palm said the computers’ distaste for the Buckeyes is because of weaker teams on their schedule. Games against Marshall (2-6), Eastern Michigan (1-8) and Minnesota (1-8) have hampered OSU in the computer poll, but not the polls by coaches and writers.
“They’ve played some really horrible teams,” Palm said. “They haven’t played enough good ones to make up for that.”
The Buckeyes’ loss to Wisconsin was devastating for their national title hopes. If they had come away from Camp Randall with a win, they would likely be the nation’s top team despite the surge from current No. 1 Oregon and No. 2 Auburn, Palm said.
“They’d be a very strong No. 1,” Palm said. “I don’t think Oregon would have eaten into Ohio State’s margin much.”